This is one of several pages relating to the history of the automatic totalisator, its invention in 1913, the inventor George Julius and the Australian company he founded in 1917 which became a monopoly in this field (later an oligopoly). If you wish to start from the beginning then go to the index

Copyright © 1997 - 2013 Email - totehis@hotmail.com

Here we have a quick look at the latter period of the company history. In the late 1970s George Julius was deceased for over 3 decades. I have included some extracts from an article that appeared on the front page of the March 1979 Asian Computer Monthly magazine. By 1979 the company was owned by Smorgon Consolidated Industries. It still retained its identity during this period despite a later name change to Smorgon Technology. It had 12 years to run before it was sold to AWA Ltd. in 1991. AWA in turn was sold to Jupiters Ltd. in 2000. Jupiters Ltd. further sold the Tote Operations division to TAB Limited. By July 2004 both Jupiters Ltd and TAB Limited were part of TABCorp. The remnants of ATL were reunited under TABCorp.

Despite Shatin ... THREE MORE ATL SYSTEMS IN ASIA

Three computerised betting systems worth a total of about US$4.5 million will be installed in Malaysia and Macau by ATL, the Australian totalisator systems specialist that ran into trouble last year at Hong Kong's Shatin race track.

Two separate systems will be installed at Penang and Ipoh race tracks worth a total of about US$2.8 million (M$6.1 million).

The system for Macau, the gambling oriented Portuguese territory across the Pearl River mouth from Hong Kong, will cost about US$1.7 million (P8.1 million) and is due to go live at the new trotting complex in May.

ATL is one of two Australian computer companies that can claim to be among the world leaders in their field. The other is Data Processing Customer Engineering the largest independent computer maintenance company outside the US.

Sydney-based ATL has been in the automated betting systems business a long while - in fact, it invented the business. The company has been in the news a lot in the last year and not all of it was good news. Asian Computer Monthly and Pacific Computer Weekly have twice shared exclusive reports on the company's problems with its state-of-the-art sell/pay wagering system that was originally meant for the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club's new Shatin track. (Asian Computer Monthly, July and November, 1978)

The system ATL developed for the new track will now go into the RHKJC's Happy Valley track on Hong Kong Island. The company that has taken over the Shatin job, Amtote, actually started in the automated betting system by manufacturing an ATL machine under license.

But ATL general manager Tony Salmon claims the Shatin situation is not as black as it has been painted.

"It is not correct to say our Shatin system did not work - it didn't work on time and we could not meet the Shatin deadline," Mr Salmon said.

"That system works and, even though we had some problems with it, we now have the most advanced pay/sell wagering system in the world."

While attention has been centered on Shatin, many people have overlooked other successful ATL installations in Australia and Asia. Some of the contracts have enormous dollar value as many include operating contracts worth millions of dollars over several years.

Recent success at home for the company include:

Joseph Oller

No examination of totalisator history would be complete without a mention of Oller. In 1865, Joseph Oller invented the “pari mutuel,” form of betting, which is the basis of the tote where investors bet against each other not the operators. In 1868 he lodged the patent for the first totalisator. He had two major business interests, horse racing and entertainment. He was a cofounder of the Moulin Rouge. He created a facility to print race guides and betting tickets. Slates on the sides of horse drawn wagons in those days were used to record horse names and odds offered.




A photograph of an Oller tote, the beginning of the totalisator industry

Oller's tote company was called CPM (Compagnie du Pari-mutuel). I met Jérôme Carrus CEO of PMC (Périphériques et Matériels de Contrôle) and CPM in October 2008 whilst visiting Paris and he kindly presented me with copies of PMC's book Pari Mutuel L'Aventure D'une Grande Invention Française and gave me a tour of his factory. I met Pierre Carrus the Manager of PMU and Andre Ville a PMC board member and former Technical Director. Jérôme and his father Jacques took my mother, wife and I for an extremely enjoyable lunch. PMC replaced the Julius tote at Longchamps with a computer system in 1973 after it had been working for 45 years. Jacques Carrus and Andre Ville were particularly interested in the Julius tote at Longchamps. PMC donated parts of the Julius tote to the Musée des arts et métiers after it was decommissioned. There are links to this museum and the PMC website in the links table below.

There has been a temporary link to Automatic Totalisators in France since the Insatiable Moloch. In 1994 the French company SEPMO (Société d'Exploitation du Pari Mutuel Oller), a supplier of wagering systems and services to the French off-track betting network and other customers was acquired by Autotote and became Autotote France. Autotote was the American Subsidiary of Automatic Totalisators.

Whilst in Paris I was determined to see if there was any remnant of the Julius tote, or "The Insatiable Moloch" as a Paris newspaper described it, at Longchamps. Jérôme in conjunction with PMC employees who were knowledgeable about Longchamps determined that there were no remnants at the track. This did not deter me from wanting to see the building that housed The Insatiable Moloch. At the time of my visit the Prix De L'Arc De Triumphe had recently been run and there were no race meetings for the duration of my visit, which meant I would not be able to enter the track as it was locked up. I underestimated the size of the Bois de Boulogne. I thought I would hop off the tour bus at the Arc de Triomphe and take a leisurely stroll down to Longchamps. I think the Bois de Boulogne must be the largest park area within a major city. It was a lot longer walk than expected and when I arrived I took the following photograph through the perimeter fence on quite a misty day.




Image in 2008 of what was the home of The Insatiable Moloch at Longchamps from 1928 to 1973.

After having lunch with Jérôme an event occurred that I found quite moving. I recall seeing a modern day convertible transforming from a hard-top coupé to one, which looks like it was built without a roof, at the touch of a switch. I have not been impressed by a motorcar for a very long time, being more interested in motorcycles and aeroplanes, however I was quite impressed with the way this automatic transformation eliminated the roof without any trace of the car ever having had one. Jérôme’s car is a convertible Volvo. When we were leaving the restaurant after lunch, Jerome decided to drive home without the roof. As the car body was closing its final covers, that hide the openings into which the roof retracts, I heard a woman’s cry of amazement followed by some very rapid French. Looking in the direction of this voice I could see a woman on the far side of the pavement near a doorway to a building. She had a smile from ear to ear and she was talking excitedly with many hand gestures pointing in the direction of the car and performing emulations of the roof motion. She was talking to anyone who would listen in the street and even yelled up the hallway of the house. I did not understand what she was saying however it seemed obvious that she was exclaiming “did you see that” and describing the transformation of the car that she had just witnessed. I found it enormously uplifting to see an adult recapture some of that youthful spontaneous fascination and delight often experienced by children when they discover something new and exciting. It was obviously infectious, as it had brought a smile to the faces of bystanders witnessing this event as well as the occupants of Jerome’s car. It is a shame that these experiences of youthful exuberance fade, diminished by the years and the responsibilities and pressures of adulthood. As we drove off I heard her excited voice, still proclaiming this piece of adult magic, fade off into the distance.




Narelle and I in the back of Jérôme’s transformed car shortly after the above event.

I also had to have a look at "Oller's Moulin Rouge". This is one of the best shows I have ever seen. The dancers are very agile and mobile on the stage, with ethereal garments that flow over the heads of the people sitting right up against the stage. When we sat down next to the stage we placed some items on a shelflike section attached to but lower than the stage to which the dinner table was abutted. We were asked to remove these items as the dancers would be using it. The pythons in the swimming pool were spectacular however I am not going to write any more as I do not wish to give away any trade secrets.

A visit to London

Prior to visiting Paris I met Charles Norrie and Danny Hayton in London. Charles is a member of GLIAS (Greater London Industrial Archaeological Society) and Danny is the treasurer of GLIAS and the Newcomen Society. Charles is an expert on the subject of George Julius and his totalisator and has an article in The end of an era - Harringay chapter of this website. Charles drove Danny and I to the London Science Museum's backup stores at a disused WW2 airfield at Wroughton. We were able to see parts of the Harringay Julius tote and other Julius tote equipment from Wembley and Newcastle. Brian Bradfield, a conservator at the Museum was extremely helpful in finding the Julius equipment within the vast expanse of stored exhibits. Brian and his assistant Neil even offered to bring a palette of equipment with parts of a marble tote down from the fourth story level of a storage rack if we wanted. Brian also gave us a tour of the whole facility, which was fascinating; the only problem was we should have had days to do the collection justice. Some of the items in this museum were very interesting. There was even a part of a particle accelerator, a technology I would have thought to be too new to have pieces in a museum store.




Image of part of the Harringay Julius tote at the London Science Museum backup store at Wroughton

Charles invited my traveling companions and I and his next door neighbour Chris Rule for dinner at his home. We had a congenial and very entertaining night. Charles is an excellent cook and every one of the seven courses he presented was delicious. After enquiring about a particular sauce we discovered that Charles is something that I believed to be long extinct, a Tudor Cook. King Henry The Eighth would have been quite at home with us. Evidently this is an art that is still kept alive today.

I spent a day with Charles, Danny and other members of GLIAS visiting Bletchley Park to hear the story of Alan Turing and the WW2 code breakers, which was very interesting and a story in itself. The members of my family, do not understand why I "waste time" reading signs, particularly ones conveying history or how something works. I found it quite unusual to find I was amongst a group of people who read signs. These were "my kinda people". Danny had been working to establish the National Computer Museum in the Bletchley Park complex, of which he gave us a personalised tour. They had an old PDP11 system which was used for Air Traffic Control Radar processing and display. It reminded me of my early tote years and I was asked if I could repair their high-speed paper tape reader. Nostalgia, if I only had the time!




An image of the Michael Faraday statue in the Royal Institution of Great Britain

I noticed from the tourist maps that the Faraday Museum was not far from where we were staying in Mayfair. I could not resist seeing a museum dedicated to the "Father of electronics". The Museum had just been transformed from the Faraday Museum to The RI or Royal Institution where science meets the world and Faraday conducted his experiments. It had not opened at the time I visited and the exhibits downstairs were closed however I was kindly allowed to walk through the floors open for pre opening functions. The electro-mechanical Julius totes would not have been possible without the principles of the induction ring Michael is holding in his left hand in the image above. Without discovering these principles there would have been no generators, motors, solenoids or transformers. I think this sentence is probably superfluous however if there are any technologists scratching their heads about Faraday, I suggest they contemplate the origin of the unit of capacitance.

In 2009 I returned to London and revisited the Royal Institution which was then open. I had a look down stairs at the exhibits of Michael's experiments and laboratory. It was all fascinating. The electromagnets are recognisable however items like the first voltmeter and first motor bear no resemblance to what they are today.

Stopovers in Dubai

We stopped in Dubai for two days on the way over and five days on the way back. My mother, wife and I had never been to Dubai previously. I could write a lot here about the contrast of old and new and the massive scale modern development with world leading achivements however it would be a diversion from totalisator history. I will sum it up and state that it is very impressive and mention that I saw large banner promotions for a competition to win a trip to Dubai at Doomben racecourse before my departure to Dubai, which stated that it was the place where the world's first horse race took place. It is also the home of the world's richest horse race the Dubai Cup. Don't miss the Desert Safari!

Links to related sites



FlightDestinationComment
1 Don McKenzie's tote recollectionsThis link represents a continuation of the Totalisator History saga related in this Web Site. Don McKenzie has recorded some of his experiences gained whilst working for Automatic Totalisators in Victoria for a quarter of a century. Some things never change! Don recalls the call for a "mechanic" when something was wrong with the tote. Thirty one years after the final operation of the Julius totes in Queensland, I still hear the odd call for a "mechanic" instead of a "technician".
2 Don McKenzie's DontronicsAfter Automatic Totalisators Don started his own electronics company.
3 The World's First Automatic TotalisatorProfessor Bob Doran's excellent research on the world's first Automatic Totalisator installed at Ellerslie in 1913.
4
YouTube video clip 1
YouTube video clip 2
YouTube video clip 3
YouTube video clip 4
YouTube video clip 5
YouTube video clip 6
Raw footage of an interview conducted by Racing Queensland in the Eagle Farm Racing Museum:
1 Introduction to George Julius and his totalisators
2 Interview continuation - Describing the Shaft Adders
3 Interview continuation - Describing the Odds Calculators
4 Interview continuation - Describing the Front End system
5 Interview continuation - Describing the Ticket Issuing Machines
6 Interview continuation - Discussing the PDP11 system that replaced the Julius tote
5Tab LogoA bastion of the contemporary totalisator
6Auckland Racing club EllerslieEllerslie Racecourse.The world's first automatic totalisator commenced operation here on Saturday 22nd of March 1913. Further Julius installations were performed in 1918 and 1922. I visited Auckland in 2007 and Prof. Bob Doran gave me a tour of totalisator history sites including Ellerslie. I took photographs of an old tote building that housed a Julius tote at Ellerslie. There were ornate windows which used to house the display counters from a Julius tote. The wall containing the counter windows, the highest peaked part in the photo, is now an inside wall as the building has been extended at some time. This building is different to photos of the original 1913 building. I found an old photograph of this building without the extension and compared it with one of the original 1913 tote building. Both photos have a similar orientation and both have a hill in the background with sufficient characteristics to deduce with reasonable certainty that they occupy the same location. Consequently the original building must have been replaced or undergone significant alterations.
7Gloucester Park Trots PerthThe first automatic totalisator in Australia was installed here at the Western Australian Trotting Association Gloucester Park in 1916. Another Julius Tote was installed for the WATA in 1929. The first floor level of this building was the Julius tote machine room. The slots below the runner numbers on the first floor provided a public view of the runner total counters installed in the machine room. Automatic Totalisators invented the world's first odds computer in 1927 and after that year Julius totes displayed the odds instead of the runner totals. The central tower housed the pool total display and manually driven dividend display. The Club Management was very obliging and I was shown over the old Julius Tote Machine rooms. This was not as straight forward as it sounds. In the case of the one in the photograph, as I have observed at other locations, there is no fixed staircase to this level. A metal retractable staircase has to be lowered by electric winch to gain access to this level. The view of the tote in the image is from the inside of the trotting track and the light post towering over the building is at the neighbouring WACA. This photograph was taken in 2011 and the Julius Tote machinery is all long gone. The only remnant was a solder terminal block still attached to a wall with the stubs of removed cables still attached to it.
8The old main tote at Eagle FarmThe second automatic totalisator in Australia was installed here at the Brisbane Racing Club (Queensland Turf Club at the time) Eagle Farm Racecourse in 1917 and was followed that same year by the installation at Randwick. The 1917 Julius tote was superseded by another Julius tote in this building circa 1948. The barometer indicator visible on the side of this building is part of this second Julius tote that ceased operation in 1979. Julius totes displayed odds as seen here after Automatic Totalisators invented the world's first odds calculator in 1927. This old behemoth electromechanical totaliastor system still exists in situ in this building and is the centrepiece of the Eagle Farm Racing Museum. There is a whole chapter of this website dedicated to the Julius tote inside this building. To read about it follow the link at the bottom of this page to the index and then select the Eagle Farm Racecourse Museum chapter. This photograph was taken in 2011.
9 Australian Jockey Club Randwick Randwick Racecourse. Julius tote installations were performed at Randwick in 1917 with 150 terminals and 1935 with 113 terminals. The 1917 installation was the third in Australia. This Padock building was purpose built for the tote. The photo shows the kind of crowds the Julius tote had to contend with. It is still in use today by the tote, not for ticekt issuing machines however. To see following installations have a look at the Installations / Testimonials - The Premier Totalisator chapter in the index which can be viewed by following the Go to the index link at the bottom of this page.
10New York Racing AssociationThe world's first computer totalizator was installed here by ATL.
11The Queensland History of Racing websiteSome anecdotes I provided to Racing Queensland on the history of totalisators in Brisbane.
12 Charles Norrie Talk on JuliusAn edited version of a talk given by Charles Norrie on the Julius tote to the Computer Conservation Society at the London Science Museum on 25 March 1993 titled George Alfred Julius and his Automatic Totalisator
13 The Australian Science Archives Project's, Bright SparcsGeorge Julius reference
14 Powerhouse Museum DHUB archiveUnpacking Design, with reference to Julius Poole and Gibson, George Julius' engineering consulting company
15 Tote model Powerhouse Museum ArchiveGeorge Julius' Automatic Totalisator demonstration model, the object of an ABC National Artworks, Jewel In The Crown series, interview with Matthew Connell Principal Curator at the Powerhouse Museum on the 5th April 2009
16 Powerhouse Museum articleAn article on George Julius with images of his tote model and Ellerslie
17 Powerhouse Museum model railway engineA model in the Powerhouse archive of a Pacific Class engine which was probably part of a model city produced by George Julius. There is some discussion of this in the George Julius Genealogy chapter of this website under the heading An email from Bill Chalmers. George's interest in model steam engines is understandable considering he graduated with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering specialising in railway engineering.
18 Powerhouse Museum Julius Tote fragmentA working section of the Julius tote from the Broadmeadows Racetrack near Newcastle
19 Matt Giuca's visit to the Precision Dynamics Discovery ShedThe Discovery Shed exists to encourage thinkers and tinkerers. Matt Giuca's visit focuses on Babbage's Difference Engine Recreation by Bob Moran. Bob also built Interactive Julius Tote Displays here.
20 Museum Of Victoria Julius adder collection itemProf. Bob Doran sent me a link to this Julius adder in the Museum of Victoria. It looks like two shaft adders coupled together. Some discussion relating to this adder took place including Neville Mitchell and Don McKenzie. This discussion was oriented around identifying the adder as a horse adder or a grand total adder.
21 Another Museum Of Victoria Julius adder collection itemWhilst I had a look at the above Museum of Victoria link I noticed a related item which was a shaft adder I dontated to the Museum a long time ago.
22 The Rutherford JournalThe First Automatic Totalisator - Note: It is ironic that George Julius appears in the Rutherford Journal as Ernest Rutherford and he were students together at the Canterbury College (University) both starting in 1890. See the George Julius Genealogy chapter for more on Canterbury College George and Ernest
23 The Rutherford JournalAn Unlikely History of Australian Computing: The Reign of the Totalisator
24 The Australian Dictionary of BiographyA George Julius Biography
25 The Kings Candlesticks: PedigreesA Genealogy site by Edward Liveing Fenn which presents George Julius' family amongst many others
26 An Encyclopaedia Of New Zealand 1966This is an entry for Julius, Most Reverend Churchill who was George Julius' father
27 The Virtual Museum of Computing
28 Charles Babbage InstituteWeb Sites Related to the History of Information Processing
29 Victorian Racing Museum
30 Australian Computer Museum Society
31 ECHO: Exploring and Collecting History OnlineScience and Technology
32 Computer Conservation Society
33 Yesterday's Office
34 Harness Racing in Australia
35 Wellington Racing Club Trentham Trentham Racecourse. In September 2007 I visited New Zealand on holidays. I took some photos of Trentham racecourse which is near Wellington. Julius tote installations were performed here in 1920 and 1936. It was a delight to see the old tote building in an excellent condition. So often historical equates with dilapidated which is the opposite in this case as it is now in a better condition than in the historical photograph, taken in its heyday, in the Ex ATL meets Ex JP&G/photo gallery chapter. Prof. Bob Doran from Auckland University has documented the Julius totalisator still present in this building.
36 Canterbury Jockey Club RiccartonRiccarton Racecourse. During the holiday mentioned above, I also visited Riccarton Racecourse in Christchurch. Julius tote installations were performed here in 1921 and 1935. Here too, it was a delight to see the old tote building in good condition. It is now occupied by a veterinary company. I spoke to one of the employees there and she was aware that the building used to be the main tote house and that it had historical significance. She indicated that the old Julius totalisator was still present upstairs.
37 MOTAT MuseumMuseum Of Transport and Technology which I visited in 2007. Stephanie McKenzie indicated that MOTAT did have totalisator equipment listed as being amongst their collection however it is awaiting further research. It is not known whether it is the original machine from Ellerslie.
38 Paul Duffett's Greyhound Racing ArchivesThe Flame Photos archives are all encompassing when it comes to greyhound racing. From old stadiums, personalities, champion greyhounds or the good old days when stadiums were full we have it all. Paul's site includes photographs of Harringay, A London dog track that had a Julius Tote. The Harringay tote is a well covered topic in multiple pages in this totalisator history website. Paul has an entry in the accolades section of this site accessible via a link below the index and the index is accessible via a link at the bottom of this page.
39 CSIROGeorge Julius was the first Chairman of the CSIRO or the CSIR as it was then known. The initial meetings of the CSIRO were held in a back office of Julius Poole and Gibson's premises, George's engineering consulting company based in Sydney
40 PMC/CPMPMC the French tote development company that replaced the Julius tote at Longchamps in 1973
41 Musée des arts et métiersThe museum where parts of the Longchamps Julius tote were donated by PMC when they replaced it with a computer totalisator
42 Brisbane History Statehood to FederationThe history of Brisbane Queensland in a pictorial and narrative format
43 Julius Ticket Issuing Machine in London Science Museum The London Science Museum. In September 2009 I visited Britain on holidays again. I had a quick look inside the London Science Museum at Knightsbridge. This quick look was only due to time constraints resulting from having to return home prematurely due to an emergency. I could easily spend a week in this museum much to the disdain of the rest of my family who do not share my enthusiasm for such things. I found a Julius Ticket Issuing Machine from Harringay on display in the museum which is shown in this link.
44 Max Burnet's private computer museumMax has established a private computer museum in his home. He is an inspiration to computer historians and makes me realise I am just a beginner in this field.
45 Max Burnet's private computer museum tote connectionAnd yes Max has a Julius tote shaft adder in his collection visible in the second row of thumbnails in this link.
46 The National Library of Australia's Historic Australian Newspapers siteVoluminous amount of articles on George Julius and Automatic Totalisators - just search for these keywords.
47 Bitsavers.orgPDP11/34 Engineering Print Set and Technical Manuals. This relates to the Computer Tote maintenance (technical) chapter of this website.
48 The Golden Pipeline A National Trust ProjectInformation on another Australian engineering achievement of C.Y. O'Connor who was George Julius' father in law
49 Racing and Sports articleMay 1969 Edition of Turf Monthly relating to Automatic Totalisators
50 The Monash Museum of Computing HistoryA Julius Tote shaft adder was donated to this museum in February 2010. Additionally George Julius' engineering consulting company Julius Poole & Gibson designed and supervised work on all the electrical systems and associated services for Monash University from 1949 to 1966.
51 Hitmill History of ComputersThis site includes the names of early pioneers of math and computing and links to related sites about the History of Computers, for further study.
52 20th Century London WebsiteProfessor Bob Doran sent me an email whilst I was in London in September/October 2010. It provided information regarding an exhibit, containing a part of the Harringay Julius tote that operated at the Harringay Greyhound Racing Track, at the Museum of London
53 The British Pathe WebsiteProfessor Bob Doran sent me another email in 2013 with this link. It contains a video clip of a Julius tote in operation. The website's description reads The tote to be legalised. Exclusive pictures - taken specially for Pathe Gazette. It also mentions wonderful electrical Totalisator in use on Australian Racecourse. Sydney, Australia is also mentioned. Electrical Totalisator has been used on multiple occasions to describe the electromechanical Julius totes. The year of this video clip is given as 1927. This is the year before the installation at Longchamps and there are similarities with the Longchamps system. As Sydney is mentioned on the website in 1927, this could be either the Randwick or Warwick Farm Julius totes. Of particular interest is the paddle wheel inertia brake which can be seen at the left rear of the adder on display. As the units wheel of the investment counter used to rotate so fast during heavy betting, that the digits on the wheel were a blur, inertia had to be dissipated when the betting rapidly subsided.
54 WA Royal Commision on BettingA copy of a West Australian report from a Royal Commision on Betting in 1959. Search the PDF file for references to Automatic Totalisators. There are references to this in the George Julius Genealogy and other latterday Interest Chapter of this website under the heading A Trip to Perth March 2011
55 History Of ComputingNathan Zeldes' very interesting site relating to his collection of slide rules and other historical computing artifacts
56 Contributions to the HIstory of Mechanical CalculationThe purpose of this website is to explain selected items and sections from the history of mechanical (instrumental) calculation with numbers.
57 Office CollectablesAn impressive Spanish website on the prehistory of information including typewriters, calculators, function of mechanical calculating machines, patents and manuals.
58 History of Computers - Hardware Software Internet ...A very interesting site with chapters on Dreamers, Calculating Tools, Mechanical Calculators, Charles Babbage, Birth of the Modern Computer, Internet and People by Georgi Dalakov.
59 Allan Bromley: historian, eccentric, gemA Sydney Morning Herald eulogy for one of the greatest computer historians I know
60 Museum of Historic Computing MachineryIncludes Exhibitions, a Book Library and a Virtual Museum in French

Horse related industry Links

1 Oz Horse RacingThe A-Z of Australian Racing and Breeding
2 Horse Racing LinksHome of Australian Horse Racing
3 Class RatingsRates Horses based on their Class, as opposed to just a Horse's most recent form.
4 The Australian Racing and Breeding HomepageRacing and Breeding on the Internet since 1996
5 the-racehorse.comRacing and bloodstock news, pedigrees, results and stallion statistics
6 Horse Stall BeddingElite Equine Shavings provides the highest quality pine wood shavings for horse stall bedding
7 Pro Group Racing Thoroughbred horse racing tipping service


Phil "MacGyver" Slocombe

With all the interesting technology of these systems and the park-like workplaces, it is the people who bring it to life. Following is an article that I wrote which appeared in a TABcorp company magazine called "On Track" in June 2006.

Phil worked for Automatic Totalisators in the 1980s performing component level maintenance on the J22 and J25 ticket issuing machines. The branch manager at the time said “if you ever want a bracket for something Phil’s your man”. I would go further and extend this to any type of gadget. Phil built a maintenance bay for his repair work, which looked like something that would be at home at NASA Control. I am glad that Phil returned to work for us, otherwise I would be feeling like the last of the Mohicans as we are the only two remnants of the ATL technologists who worked in Brisbane.

I recently suggested to Phil that he was like MacGyver. For those who have not seen this 1980s series on TV, it was about a former Special Forces agent dedicated to righting wrongs with ingenuity rather than brute force. I certainly felt that, although entertaining, it was implausible, as the movie magic would always provide him with nearby raw materials to provide a solution. Phil strikes me as the nearest I have seen to a real life MacGyver. Phil informed me that I was not the only one to call him that. He related an incident at a Gliding Club function when an expensive spit, which was to be used for roasting, suffered a seized gearbox in the last minute. Phil redesigned it with parts from an old wire spooling device and saved the day. He has since been known there as MacGyver.

Recently I was looking around for some means of keeping two sector panel aerials standing vertical on a flat surface. (Postscript :- our current tote has radio bridges to extend TIM LANs and access points for hand held terminals) I solicited Phil for some ideas. In true MacGyver fashion Phil darted around looking at available items. After a couple of minutes he uttered yep yep got it. He picked up the plastic ends of a cable roll, which had a central hub with plastic radial arms extending to a square plastic perimeter. In the blink of an eye and the whiz of an electric screwdriver the aerials were standing on their new bases, which looked like they were supplied like that from the manufacturer.

As you can see from the photos Phil has not lost any of his MacGyver attributes. Inspired by the electrician at Eagle Farm who had been darting around the track on his electric scooter, Phil soon had his own model, donated by a friend, probably repayment for some of Phil’s innovative services. He soon had a trailer attachment for moving tote equipment around, adapted from a wheelbarrow. More recent improvements have been a headlight, augmentation batteries, a detachable umbrella and a front carry box. Any of you wishing to place orders will have to talk to Phil.




We have lost the photograph that appeared with this article. This photograph is Phil on one of his later models. This is one of his own creations.

If Joseph Oller were alive today he may have said about this point in this website La Fin or perhaps C'est fini

Having dispensed with the subject of totalisator history I would like to give a final thought to the subject of history. The universe may be infinite however it appears blatantly obvious that the resources of our planet are finite. Growing numbers of us seem to be oblivious to this and have the impression that the resources are inexhaustible. I would like to think that our species will find a way into the future that will ensure we continue to create history worthy of the study of future generations keeping the subject originated by Herodotus alive.

I am a member of a small family and lived in "British Colonies" since the age of 9. Despite having enjoyed the "colonial life" for a long time now and at present almost 50 years later, I cannot escape the feeling of coming home when I visit the UK. It was nostalgic to be staying so close to Berkley Square where the nightingale sang in the famous 1940 song A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square. I was overjoyed to meet up with my cousin and part of his family in October 2008. I was very impressed by his delightful granddaughter Hayley. She is 11 years old and recently wrote a poem for a school assignment, which she wrote down for me at a restaurant in Shepherds Market in Mayfair. Beyond being an excellent poem I felt it conveyed a poignant message worthy of proclaiming.

Earth

Litter flying all around
Carelessly thrown on the ground

Pollution in the air
Scientists in despair

People cutting down the trees
Levels rising across the seas

Polar bears swimming far away
In search of a place safe to stay

We feel our world getting hot
It's time to act ready or not

The best gift we get at birth
Is our lovely planet earth

Now we need to work together
To keep it safe forever

Hayley.

Hayley also gave me a refresher course on my schoolboy French as she was studying French, which came in useful in Restaurants and Taxis when we visited France after London. The comet Hale-Bopp was termed The Great Comet of 1997, the same year Hayley was born. My maternal grandmother was one of the few people to see Halley's Comet twice in her life.



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Acknowledgements


Comments and suggestions welcome to totehis@hotmail.com

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